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Rafa beats Roger Again

Another classic match between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. If you are a Roger fan though it is the same old story close but no cigar. The two are so evenly matched and it really produces high drama scintillating tennis.

This match again had everything!!! Amazing points, huge momentum swings, and fireworks...literally(it was Australia Day and the match was stopped for 15 minutes). If you are a Rafael Nadal fan you must love all these matches because they truly are breathtaking to watch.

I however am a Roger fan so it is a little heartbreaking to watch. To see him try so hard, play so well and still fall short is hard. As I was watching the match it becomes more and more apparent why he can't beat Rafa. The talent is there, the hunger is there, but the pressure is too much!!!

He knows he has to play aggressive to win and when Roger watches Rafa run down great shot after great shot it becomes disheartening to him. He is so good at controlling his emotions but you can still see the look of overwhelm on his face. Roger simply has to do too many complicated shots to win a point and when the pressure builds he goes for too much at the wrong times.

Rafa on the other hand has the luxury of playing high percentage heavy topspin pounding tennis. Now while this looks incredible exhausting there is not as much pressure to produce greatness and genius every point. Rafa produces his greatness by reacting to what Federer has thrown at him, but he does not constantly have to be thinking,"ok whats the next amazing shot I have to try to win this point". The way Roger has to win points is not only physically exhausting but mental as well. That is the big difference in my opinion.

Let me know if you agree and if you disagree, why do you think Roger can't beat this guy? Comment below the video of highlights...

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Comment by Tim Prapong on January 26, 2012 at 2:13pm

To respond to your video directly, that's why I think Fed is strategically wrong against Nadal. If we refer to Borg vs. McEnroe, the advantages were the same. Borg had high percentage topspin and Mac had the angled serve and volleys made of gold. Mac came in to subvert the topspin advantage.

With Fed, he is not subverting Nadal's topspin advantage. The Fed forehand drive is not as big as the Berdych forehand drive in opening up Nadal's coverage. Berdych had a better net position than Fed did on approach forehand drives. If you're going to use a flattened forehand drive to push Nadal into a corner out wide, it better have significant skip bounce on it. Berdych's and Soderling's forehands have enough, Fed not quite enough. Their forehand takebacks are higher and beyond six o'clock. Fed is not, opting to hit in front.

Fed is still feeding Nadal with the 3/4 backhand drives that come up short. Fed is increasing the radius of his backhand drives, but if he only would bring the prep higher like Gasquet or Kuerten, would it damage Nadal. But that is a technique change that will never come about for whatever reason. Is it pride, stubbornness or too late to change? In my mind, it is never too late to change. What does he have to lose? Chances to win another slam.

Comment by Tim Prapong on January 26, 2012 at 1:53pm

With his current strategy, Fed CAN beat Nadal, but only on a faster surface. Fed wants to keep playing this kind of strategy, trade from the baseline, pound corners, and once in awhile, bring Nadal up with a well timed dropshot. In my own mind, that can work in a three set format, but not a five set slam match. Nadal will eventually overcome that initial advantage, and start ratcheting up the forehand, pulling Fed off his forehand drive timing and forcing backhand errors. Then Fed doesn't get the first serve in, and it's over. 

Fed just doesn't want to play serve and volley, when the time is now needed to. He needs to get over the fear of getting passed over and over. I just think if he's in the Nadal swamp and is getting bogged down, he needs to get aggressive first serves that are high percentage and come in. He has to get on a serve and volley roll to make Nadal alter his game plan and put some fear back in Nadal's shoes. 

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